Over the weekend of December 5- 8, the Sea Lions Swim Team competed in the Fall Finale Swim Meet in Oro Valley. The meet had 14 teams from southern Arizona and the Sea Lions finished 5th overall with 962 points. Preliminaries were held each morning and swimmers who qualified in the top 8 swam in finals each evening. Medals were awarded for top three finishes in each individual event. The meet format was very similar to the 2014 Age Group State Championship Meet that will be held in the same pool in March.
At the start of the morning sessions, it was literally freezing. Frost was on the starting blocks and a cloud of water vapor was rising from the pool. Sea Lion swimmers were among the first in the pool each morning and their toughness paid off in the relays. Head Coach Alex Gort was proud of the fact that all the Sea Lions Relays teams participated and no swimmers backed out because of weather. The Sea Lions swam a total of 10 relays during the 4 day meet. A majority of the relay teams finished in the top 3. For the Girls Relays; Briana Castellanos(9), Tabitha Kellam (9), Darien Apuron (12), and Gianna Sweeney (12) competed in the 12 and under age group and finished 3rd in both the 400 Medley and 400 Freestyle Relay. The group of Sea Lion Boys at the meet; Ethan Kellam (7), Joey Castellanos (8), Mason Stewart (8), Rocky Andrade(8), Evan Apuron(10), Riley Stewart (10), and Jayden Smith (11) were able to finish in the top 3 places in all 6 relays they competed in, swimming in both the 10 and under and 12 and under age groups.
Several Sea Lion swimmers earned individual medals at the meet. Darien Apuron finished 2nd in the 400 Individual Medley (IM), Gianna Sweeney finished 3rd in the 1650 Freestyle and 2nd in the 100 IM, Riley Stewart finished 3rd in the 50 Breaststroke and 2nd in the 100 Backstroke, and Will Newman finished 3rd in both the 100 Back and 200 Back. Tabitha Kellam and Evan Apuron became regulars on the award stand as Tabitha received a total of 8 medals (1st 100 Fly, 1st 100 IM, 2nd 500 Free, 2nd 100 Back, 2nd 100 Breast, 2nd 50 Breast, 2nd 200 IM, 3rd 200 Free) and Evan received a total of 6 medals (1st 50 Fly, 1st 100 Fly, 1st 100 IM, 1st 50 Free, 2nd 200 IM, 3rd 200 Free). As much as the swimmers wanted to win races and earn medals at the meet, the ability to achieve qualifying times for the State Championship Meet was the ultimate prize. Darien Apuron achieved qualifying times in the 50 Back, 50 Fly and 200 Back. Gianna Sweeney achieved qualifying times in the 100 IM and 200 Breaststroke. Tabitha, Riley, Evan, and Will all have qualified previously and will compete in the 2014 Age Group State Championship Meet in March.
The Sea Lions practice in the Oro Valley pool during the winter months and in the San Manuel Pool in the warmer months. Anyone wanting more information about the Sea Lions Swim Team can contact Alex Gort at 896-2190.